Petaluma's Sonoma-Marin Fair Starts This Week

June 22, 2015

Sonoma-Marin FairSummertime is fair time, and the first fair of the season is Petaluma's Sonoma-Marin Fair, which takes place at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds from Wednesday June 24 through Sunday, June 28. The Sonoma-Marin Fair is not quite but almost a county fair, and offers a wide range of fun and exciting attractions, competitions, events, and activities for the entire family.

This year's theme is "Only at the Fair", and you'll find plenty of family fun including carnival rides with a kiddie carnival for younger children, pig races, a safari adventure, "Agventure Land" for agricultural fun, strolling clowns, jugglers, and silly characters, and artst and crafts and a petting zoo at Clo's Kids Corner. You'll also find livestock shows, agricultural exhibits, chef demonstrations, a destruction derby, and more. Of course the fair's famous World's Ugliest Dog Contest, will take place, too!

And what would a fair be without great live music? The Sonoma-Marin Fair has numerous musical acts on its schedule, including the Beach Boys, Tower of Power, and Tanya Tucker. All concerts are free with fair admission and begin at 8 pm.

Hawaiian Style BBQ Short Ribs

June 22, 2015

Hawaiian style short ribsThese marinated and grilled short ribs are the perfect thing for a summer backyard BBQ. They only take a few minutes to make and cook (outside of the marinating time), and the sweet-salty soy sauce-based Hawaiian marinade delivers a taste of the islands without having to get on a plane.

You can serve these short ribs in classic Hawaiian plate lunch style, accompanied by two scoops of rice and macaroni salad, but we opted to be a little healthier and make an island-style sesame-cabbage slaw that has added texture from crumbled dry instant ramen noodles.

You'll want to get Hawaiian-style—also called Maui- or flanken-style—short ribs, which are cut in thin strips across the bone. These don't need to be marinated all that long, and only need to be grilled a few minutes on each side. The marinade works great with chicken or pork, too.


for the ribs

Weekend Family-friendly Fun for June 19, 20 & 21

June 20, 2015

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families in and around Marin County this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, June 19

  • Children's Garden Series: The Red Panda Acrobats
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11–11:30 am & 12:15–12:45 pm

    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Combining exceptional athletic skills, traditional Chinese music, dazzling costumes, and a fast-paced show sure to amaze viewers of all ages, the Red Panda Acrobats bring the ancient art of Chinese acrobatics into the 21st century with jaw-dropping displays of strength, balance, and dexterity. For more info, visit their website.
  • Father Son BBQ
    Corte Madera Community Center
    Friday,  6:30–9 pm

    Have fun at the Father Son BBQ at the Corte Madera Community Center. This event features games, activities, and a BBQ. Cost: $20 per person. Location: For more info, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday: Mitch Wood and his Rocket 88's. Sponsored by Sausalito Sister City Committee. For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday, The 85's will be performing. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.

Saturday, June 20

  • 11th Annual Flea Market
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 9 am–3 pm

    Find new treasures and collectibles at bargain prices, plus the Mill Valley Seniors' Club will sell a variety of foods, drinks, snacks and delicious homemade take-home goodies! Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Father's Day Weekend Fishing Derby
    Paradise Beach Park, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9 am–1 pm

    Spend the day with Dad at Paradise Beach Park in Tiburon for the Father's Day Weekend Fishing Derby. Prizes awarded for biggest fish, first fish, and heaviest fish! No fishing license required when fishing from the pier. Free. A limited number of fishing poles and bait will be provided to beginners on a first-come, first-served basis. For more info, visit their website.
  • Northern California Pirate Festival
    Vallejo Waterfront
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Avast, mateys! The Northern California Pirate Festival takes place at the Vallejo waterfront this weekend. The festival features piratical music and entertainment, sword fighting, vendors, and food, plus a special children's area with a 30-foot slide, special shows, contests, and the Children's School of Piracy. Tickets: $10 adults; children 11 and under free with paid adult admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Bay Area Birth & Baby Fair
    San Mateo Event Center
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Don’t miss this amazing shopping event for new and expecting parents in the Bay Area. The Birth & Baby Fair showcases local businesses and resources as well as independent designers with the aim to educate and expose new and expecting parents and young families to unique and beneficial products and services. General admission is $10 at the door. Children 18 and under are free. Location: 2495 South Delaware Street, San Mateo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Dave the Horn Guy
    Fairfax Library
    Saturday, 11 am
    Dave the Horn guy explains THE ELEMENTS OF MUSIC and THE PHYSICS OF SOUND to ages 4 and up. Instead of regular storytime. Location: 2097 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax. For more info, visit their website.

Strawberry Yogurt Sorbet Is a Healthy and Sweet Summer Treat

June 20, 2015

strawberry yogurt sorbet cone Who doesn't love a sweet, refreshing, frozen treat during the summertime? Make it a little more healthy with sweet fresh strawberries and tangy Greek yogurt. You don't even need an ice cream maker to make this dessert.

It's fantastic scooped into a cone or frozen into ice pop molds—whatever tickles your fancy this summer. My kids and I made this sorbet with fresh strawberries that we picked up at the farmers market.

While our recipe calls for strawberries, you can use whatever fresh berries you happen to have. Frozen berries work perfectly well, too, so you can make this at any time of year. You can also feel free to substitute low-fat yogurt, but do try to use extra thick Greek yogurt; it makes a difference.


Awesome Spots For a Father's Day Picnic

June 18, 2015

This Sunday is Father's Day, and the weather is fabulous! Pack a picnic and celebrate Dad's day outdoors at one of the many great picnic spots in and around Marin and Sonoma County. Here are some of our favorite places to bring our lunch (or brunch) and dine al fresco. If you want some more ideas for fantastic Father's Day activities and outings, read our article here.

  • Bear Valley in the Point Reyes National Seashore is home to the park's visitor center as well as a large picnic area complete with tables, restrooms, charcoal grills,  and drinking water. Have a leisurely lunch outdoors, and then take a hike—there are a number of different hikes and walks you can do here that are suitable for everyone in the family, including the Earthquake Trail, the Bear Valley Trail, and the trail leading to the Morgan horse ranch. Read more about Bear Valley in our article here.

Movie Night on the Green at Marin Country Mart

June 16, 2015

Come to Marin Country Mart at Larkspur Landing this summer for free, family-friendly movies on the green! Every Wednesday at 6 pm, Marin Country Mart will present a great family film, so pack up the beach chairs, blankets, and of course the kids, for a great night of outdoor movie fun. Bring your own food or purchase dinner from one of the Mart's restaurants, including El Huarache Loco, Belcampo, Farmshop, and Rustic Bakery.

This summer's lineup of movies includes Fantastic Mr. Fox (June 17), Antz (June 24), The Land Before Time (July 1), Shrek (July 8), The Sound of Music (July 15), Charlotte's Web (July 22), Curious George (July 29), Babe (August 5), The Wizard of Oz (August 12), The Muppet Movie (August 19), and Bee Movie (August 26).

Marin Country Mart is located at 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, off East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, in Larkspur. For more information, visit

The Marin Country Mart also offers free outdoor concerts with jazz on Friday nights and folk, Americana, and roots music at the Folkish Festival, as well as a popular Saturday farmer's market from 9 am to 2 pm. Check out their online calendar to learn more.

Inexpensive and Fun Summer Kids' Activities in and around Marin

June 16, 2015

kids swimming summerSummer vacation is finally here, and it's time to start thinking of fun and affordable ways to keep the kids occupied now that they're finally out of school. Fortunately, parents in Marin County will find plenty for kids to do!

Here are a dozen ideas for great affordable summer activities and outings in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area. From hiking to swimming to movies to farm tours, everything listed here is either free or inexpensive. You don't have to break the bank to have a great time!

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

June 15, 2015

Grilled Mediterranean chickenSummer means it's time to fire up the grill and cook something delicious for dinner. One of the hardest things to cook on the grill is whole chicken. It's too easy to end up with a birds that's charred on the outside and underdone on the inside, but I think this technique is almost foolproof and results in a perfectly cooked chicken every time. It also speeds up the cooking time.

I like to marinate the chicken for a few hours—or overnight, if I'm thinking ahead—in a citrusy, herb-laded mixture that's full of great Mediterranean flavors. I can't say that it's purely Greek or Italian, but it uses flavors common in each cuisine. It helps to have an herb garden just steps from the kitchen door, too!

Feel free to vary this recipe to suit your taste. For example, I sometimes replace the oregano with fresh chopped rosemary for something equally delicious. Whatever variation I decide on, this is one of my go-to dishes for a summer cookout.

In addition to your standard grilling tools, you'll need a heavy weight to press down on the chicken while it's cooking. A cast iron skillet or even a brick wrapped in aluminum foil works great.


for the marinade

Kids' Summer Movie Clubhouse in Marin

June 15, 2015

Summer Movie Clubhouse Rowland Plaza NovatoThis summer, Cinemark's Summer Movie Clubhouse offers fun weekly summer movies for kids at the bargain price of only $1 per show. You can even purchase a punch card admitting you to 10 movies for only $5! 10-show discount punch cards are limited in quantity and must be purchased in advance at the theater box office or online at All shows take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 am.

All films are rated G or PG. For more info, visit their website. (Make sure you download the Summer Movie Clubhouse flyer for a $1-off coupon for a kids' Movie Snack Pack at the concession stand.)

All shows in Marin take place at the Century Rowland Plaza at 44 Rowland Way in Novato. Here's the schedule for this summer (all films start at 10 am):

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